Steve Smith talks about Virat Kohli ahead of ODI series

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India vs Australia | Steve Smith believes series will be played in good spirit

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SportsCafe Desk

09/10/2017

After a hugely competitive and controversial Test series, Steve Smith has claimed that the limited overs' series between India and Australia will be played in "good spirit". The Aussie captain also added that his team would have to do well against the spinners to get a positive result in the series.

After winning the first Test of the four-match series, earlier this year, the two teams made as much news off the field as they did on it. While DRS-gate, where Virat Kohli accused Smith of cheating after the latter tried to take help from the dressing room for a review, was the start, Smith getting caught on camera using profanity against Murali Vijay took the tensions between the two sides to a whole new level. The series ended with the Indian team refusing an invitation from their Aussie counterparts to have a drink together after the Dharamsala Test.

However, an IPL and Champions Trophy later, the animosity between the two sides seems to have fizzled out.

"I think it will be played in good spirit. It is always a hard fought contest playing against India and we are excited about the challenge of playing here. Looking back at the last one-day tour here (I wasn't on it in 2013), it was a big run fest. Pretty flat wickets and good totals. We'll see what we are presented with it but it could be the same again," Smith told journalists after a training session, reported PTI.

"It is going to be a tough tour. India has been playing some very good cricket for a while now, they are just coming out of a successful tour of Sri Lanka. It's going to be a good challenge for this group. Excited about it." 

Smith also downplayed the reported rift between him and Virat Kohli, who had said that he was not on friendly terms with a few Australians, and paid tribute to the Indian captain's ODI record, by saying, "I am not too concerned about the differences with Kohli. He is obviously a very good player and has a phenomenal ODI record. Hopefully, we can keep him quiet as much as possible in this series. If we do that then hopefully it can go a long way in us having success on this tour."

After winning the first Test in Pune, thanks to a brilliant display by Steve O'Keefe, Australia went on to lose two of the final three due to their inability to play spin in testing conditions with Ravindra Jadeja acting as the tormentor in chief claiming 20 wickets in the remaining Tests. In the limited-overs' format, owing to the BCCI's rotation policy, both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested with the likes of Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Kuldeep Yadav getting the nod. 

Smith, however, isn't too fussed about the squad that the BCCI announced today, adding that the three spinners were more than capable of inflicting damage. 

"I think the one-day group has played spin pretty well. Obviously, we're still learning in the Test format, just coming out of a challenging tour of Bangladesh. Guys are learning and trying to improve, and I hope they continue to do so. Obviously, the one-day wickets will not present quite as much spin as the Test wickets. But we have to wait and see and adapt to the conditions," Smith added.

"It's a completely different format really from Test cricket. Axar Patel has done well for them, [Yuzvendra] Chahal is there in the squad as well and Kuldeep Yadav, he's a good bowler too. They certainly have some good spinners. We are gonna have to play them well throughout the series."

The Aussies were handed their first ever defeat in the longest format of the game by Bangladesh in the first Test in Dhaka by 20 runs last month. However, the Aussies rallied back and levelled the series at 1-1 with a convincing seven-wicket victory in Chittagong. In order to tackle the problems that spin offers in the subcontinent, Australia hired former India cricketer Sridharan Sriram as a spin consultant and the effects were visible in the Test series. Smith was quick to acknowledge the impact Sriram has had on the team.

"Sri has been really good. He's got some great knowledge on how to play in these conditions and helps a lot of players, particularly spinners in understanding how to bowl in these conditions, probably more for longer formats than the shorter formats. The wickets generally don't offer quite as much spin as Test wickets so. He still has a great knowledge of lot of grounds in India, the nature of the wickets. He's been really good for this team," the Aussie captain concluded.

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